The Four Seasons in Limassol, Cyprus has been open since 1993 and is independently owned and operated by Muskita Hotels Ltd. It’s a Five Star deluxe property with 304 rooms, 6 restaurants, 4 bars, and extensive conference facilities, Shiseido Spa, a full range of sports and fitness facilities and a shopping area with exclusive boutiques, watches and jewelry. The Hotel is situated on its own sandy beach, which has been awarded with the Blue Flag (a symbol of cleanliness and safety awarded by the European Community) and is 8 kilometers East of Limassol city center.
The Four Seasons’ management is constantly looking for effective ways to build strong relations with its customers and optimize sales programs. The Hotel’s website is its important marketing tool that helps the property to attract and retain elite guests from all over the World.
Mr. Nick Aristou, the property’s Executive Director, decided to enhance the website with an online business chat solution. “Our objective was to make it easy for our customers to navigate the website,” says Mr. Aristou. “Also, we wanted to convert as many visitors into customers as possible by making it easy for them to complete bookings.”
Mr. Aristou, who has a strong technology background, did a thorough review of available products, including such market leaders as LivePerson. However, none of them matched Four Season’s specific needs. The main limitations were the lack of multilingual support, patchy compatibility with tablet users and absence of robust archival features.
Then Mr. Aristou came across LiveWebAssist, a chat solution deployed on the IceWarp site, and realized it was the perfect match. He decided to try it out on the Four Season’s site, but then found out it was not the final release yet. Still, Mr. Aristou went ahead and launched LiveWebAssist at Four Seasons’ webpage, assigning three operators to interact with customers.
From the very beginning, the Four Season’s customer service team was making the most of LiveWebAssist’s multilingual interface and Knowledgebase support features to interact with customers in English, Greek and Russian.. The property’s sales and marketing team started to see LiveWebAssist’s effect almost immediately – the bookings increased.
“LiveWebAssist contributed a lot to this on many occasions,” says Mr. Aristou. “Our analysis showed that customers booked because they were given real-time explanations through the chat service.”
Four Season’s technology team also liked LiveWebAssist’s capability to recognize returning Website visitors.
“The excellent feature helps an operator to resume the conversation from the same spot where it was ended or interrupted,” says Mr. Aristou. “That makes users spend on average 7-8 minutes on the site, a very high indicator.”
In an approach radically different form other chat products, LiveWebAsisst supports the InLine no-flash chat architecture, eliminating pop-up windows. This design allows more visitors to initiate chat sessions, because they don’t have to deal with popup blockers and assures usability for visitors from tablets like iPad or Android.
Additionally, this option gives actionable information about the visitors’ behavior.
“The operators can tell exactly where the user is on the site, so they can offer them immediate assistance, tell them where to go and answer questions with a high degree of relevancy,” says Mr. Aristou. “It’s a very useful feature.”
LiveWebAssist’s analytical capabilities helped the hotel to optimize its Internet marketing strategy.
“LiveWebAssist analytics capabilities are very good,” notes Mr. Aristou. “They are helping us to locate sources our customers are coming from. It’s a very effective tool, especially when used in conjunction with Google analytics.”
Another feature Four Seasons’ team found practical is LiveWebAssist Knowledgebase. At any point of the conversation, it allows to insert pre-approved messages (such as terms and conditions, cancellation policy, etc.) as well as URLs and graphics with a single click.
“It has been very useful, we have almost three pages of knowledgebase content now,” notes Mr. Aristou. “The option provides more professional outlook and helps to standardize responses. Operators don’t have to think about how to phrase them. In the near future, we are planning to extend the knowledgebase with images and, possibly, videos.”
According to Four Seasons’ technology team estimates, the training and ramp-up process was painless.
“The functionality of the program is simple, anybody who can use a social chat program can get accustomed to LiveWebAssist very easily,” notes Mr. Aristou.
For the support function, Four Seasons team used LiveWebAssist Direct Chat Technology, the VIP connection that gives dedicated access to key IceWarp support personnel. This option makes it possible to reach the important contacts no matter where they are – at their desktop, off-site, or on the road.
“The VIP link option has been very useful, and IceWarp support team was very prompt,” says Mr. Aristou.
Four Seasons is now planning to expand LiveWebAssist functionality.
“We are considered using it on mobile devices, and, possibly, integrating the solution with a new CRM system,” says Mr. Aristou.
In the future, the property is thinking about hiring more operators and starting to use LiveWebAssist automated translation functionality.
According to Mr. Aristou’s estimates, LiveWebAssist was showing compelling ROI from the day it was implemented.
“Just from my own observation, from the number of bookings that have been converted directly through LiveWebAssist, I can say that it has paid for itself almost immediately” says Mr. Aristou he would definitely recommend LiveWebAssist to other organizations in the hospitality industry.
“Selling hotel rooms is always a complex matter,” says Mr. Aristou. “Usually, hotel bookings for five+ star hotels are a very high-value item. It’s not a $10-20 purchase from Amazon. They are usually $5,000-6,000 per transactionand there are many issues for potential customers to understand before they actually commit to book. Anything that can give a customer greater confidence and prompt him to make a decision to buy is very valuable. LiveWebAssist gives us exactly that.”
The Australian National University has launched a new research contact centre as part of its new Australian Centre for Applied Social Research Methods (AusCen).
The commercial arm of the university, ANU Enterprises, has paid around $10 million for Melbourne-based Social Research Centre, which operates a $20 million a year polling and research business. The Melbourne operation oversees some 280 contact centre staff and 65 permanent staff, with a handful of executives expected to relocate to Canberra to work in the new ANU operation.
"The creation of AusCen and the commercial alignment between AusCen and the Social Research Centre changes all of that. It is a giant win for the advancement of social research methods in this country and fills a gap in the Australian social research landscape," said Social Research Centre chief executive Darren Pennay.
Global life insurance provider ACE Life has partnered with Thailand's AEON Insurance Service to market life, personal accident and health insurance products via a Thai-based outbound contact center.
ACE Life Asia Pacific regional president Kevin Goulding said that Thailand is one of the core markets for the company in inAsia Pacific and the partnership with AEON signifies a milestone in firm's strategy to expand distribution channels. "Committed to strive for better service to our customers, we aim to deliver value added financial protection solutions to our Thai customers," Goulding added.
Following the opening of ACE Life Telemarketing Call Center at Ted's House Building, customers can now conveniently purchase life insurance over the phone. ACE Life Assurance Public Company country president Sally O'Hara said: "We are delighted to be partnering with AEON Insurance Service (Thailand) to provide innovative life insurance products to AEON Thana Sinsap (Thailand) PLC's customer base." With operations in 54 countries, the company provides commercial and personal property and casualty insurance, personal accident and supplemental health insurance, reinsurance and life insurance to different group of clients.
Retail, Foodservice and Independent Grocery teams using single, workflow-based system to close the information gap and execute best practices across all field activities
Simplot Australia Pty Ltd has selected StayinFront EdgeCG® field force automation platform and StayinFront TouchCG® mobile retail execution application to support all its routes to market. Simplot will deploy TouchCG® to 150 sales representatives, merchandisers and managers, operating in three national teams – retail, independent grocery and foodservice - over a sixteen week project concluding October 2014.
Simplot is the manufacturer of such brands as Birds Eye, Edgell, John West, Seakist, Ally, Lean Cuisine, Chiko and Leggo's.
StayinFront's ability to support all of Simplot's sales models and routes to market with its extensive out-of-the-box functionality and configurability was key to Simplot's decision to move from multiple systems to a single, end-to-end integrated solution. StayinFront TouchCG allows Simplot to standardise sales processes and best workflow practices across all field activities based on the rep's role and the type of store being visited, without the expense of customisation.
Using a mobile device of their choice, Simplot reps see only the features and data necessary to perform the tasks for that specific store. Mobile dashboards and KPIs enable reps to see their targets for each visit and take the steps to improve their performance. Simplot anticipates the streamlined, easy-to-use interface will encourage rapid user adoption and greater adherence to its standards, while providing management with real time access to reporting and information from the field.
Robert Giles, Sales Director, Simplot Australia Pty Ltd, said: "StayinFront's expertise in global FMCG, its proven partnership approach and flexible implementation options give us confidence that we have the right combination to cover all our routes to market from a single solution."
Kerrie-Anne Turner, StayinFront's APAC Vice President and Managing Director Australia, said: "We are very excited that Simplot Australia has recognised StayinFront's continuing commitment to innovation for the consumer goods sector, its customers and its growth. This is a significant win for StayinFront and we see great potential for mutual value from this partnership."